Voice on Demand - Retail Podcast by MECS+R (MECSC)

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Virtuous Consumption: When malls and small businesses do good

by The Middle East Council of Shopping Centres & Retailers
July 26th 2020

To promote the well-being for residents, lets explore how shopping centers and small and medium retail centers acts as catalysts to not only increase local economi... More

uh huh. Welcome back to the Voice and the band. Podcast by the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers and Retailers. The Middle East and North Africa is an ever changing environment. A living organism on the needs and wants of the society is constantly grows and involves. A lot of initiatives have been made to accommodate these needs, such as parks, hospitals, education, retail and much more. Today will concentrate on citizens and residents centered developments that actually builds a community. But what does it take to really build the commune? There are two major types, I would say off communities in the Middle East. North Africa, local on the expat community on each will have its own preferences, of course, relative to its culture, food and other continents. Let's talk about this with guardians. Choco. She is the CEO and founder of Qatar Societies. High gowns. How are you doing today? Thanks for coming over. Hello. Thanks for having me. It's a pleasure to be

here. It's our pleasure. Thank you so much. You know, what I like about in the morning is the smell of the coffee and you know the traffic. It's a pleasure to be here in Dubai. It's my first time. Um, it's also my first time in the Middle East. I had a chance to visit North Africa, North Africa, Tunisia, and yes and Morocco. It's wonderful. These are wonderful. Yeah, Yes, yes. No, indeed. But I was very excited. Looking forward to discovering to buy. I know that you have a Ministry of tolerance. A Ministry of Possibility. A Ministry of Happiness. Yes, so much which, which means that you really do focus on your residence. Well, being on that is very inspiring to see. And I think that many countries rather world could, uh could follow your lead on that. So that's what I really like about here in Dubai. I'm, um, expat, too. And I came from from Southeast Asia

. Of course, the first difference that I could see here when I landed in Dubai 6.5 years ago was the engagement off the people here, the locals, the experts toe actually build the community together. Dubai. From my perspective, it's literally a place that iss blood and sweat built by the community. And all the people here wants to, you know, make it mawr better and better. every year. That's wonderful to hear. I'm coming. You know, I live in New York and based in New York, which is also like a space where many different culture have to live together, built together on dsi ing example of these in different place of the world is very interesting and also like for me to look at the learnings from a place like Dubai, for example, and see how can this be applied to the United States or to Europe? So how different cultures, different groups are able to cohabitate and create infrastructures that are beneficial for all respecting everyone's like specific identities

and cultural could, yet creating a broader communities. These are questions that we're asking ourselves in Europe and North America gowns. How long have you been promoting and engage with residents and their developments? Well, I think since I was a child, I understood the importance and the rule of societies to really respond to the needs of residents. I started coda societies three years ago. I have worked in the development of like national and regional like social and physical infrastructures for the past seven years, but decided to create coding societies three years ago and were based in New York City. We were globally. We had a chance to work in the UK We were involved with incredible partners to help rethink the national health care system A couple of years back, it's still a work in progress. We've bean also working on the continent of Africa and help rethinking national public administration system and involving citizen in the design of structures

for themselves, such as how to access health education. So you're pretty much active, actively engaged in a lot of countries, a lot of territories and in a lot of sectors as well. That's incredible. Could you tell us a little bit more of code of societies and what its its vision and mission and what it's actually about giving to the community? Yes. So we help nations and regions and communities in general rethink their social economic structures or end goal is always residents well being. So we focus on people's well being first and always in the development of infrastructure, of the development of new program, education program or even economic development program, the development of public spaces, or even like leveraging the private sector and ensuring that the private sector generates positive revenues. We always put people at the center. So are we always sold for people's well being? Well, you know, like private like

stores and malls. And the private sector in general depends on their communities, right? It depends on consumers and customers. And so when the focus is put on customers well being and consumers well being, it's usually like more sustainable. Business is all about people, right? Business will thrive because it was a response to the need of its customers. So the private sector plays already a large in a role in societies and in communities. Now how can we intentionally promote healthy strategies that our aim thio create stronger communities? So there are many ways to do that. I think that from a purely like local economic development perspective, businesses are a source of employment, right, ensuring that when businesses are in a specific communities, that they are like leveraging local talents, and

that will produce more jobs and more exactly so how could a business, you know, really contribute to the economic well being of the communities? That's the question. So that's a question. But like you can do that through as I mentioned before, like labor practices so employing, you know, like the local workforce. You can also like developed training for your employees to ensure that they're able to improve, to have, like, greater economic opportunities and also increase their purchasing power. You can also push practices, for example, to employ more women in your in your business in your organization or your your store in terms also of the building itself. How can you ensure that you are hiring electrical contractors to, like respond to the need of your store? There's so many different area that you can explore, and actually you can also bring because across societies we use participatory design. A zit means to be a solution because we don't we do not believe in that coming in an imposing solutions. We believe in collective intelligence and actually including

a space in which, like your community members, you know, can come in and be part of coming up with some incredible ideas, you know, and in the implementation of these ideas. So if new stores or shopping centers engage the community and that being the residents, but also like the small businesses that might not be part of retail but are in other you know, like in different and industry of our areas, having them coming, like bringing them into the conversation of what their communities need. Yes, it's like a very virtuous because system. And also the thing is, Dubai is extremely impressive because you already have some commitment, right? You have a green form you are building. Maybe it's already built already like the first, like solar powered mall. These are best practices that the world need to implement, and that is part one of our special episode with Gallons Chako CEO and founder Off Gotta Societies

on Lee at the Voice and Man retail podcast by the M E CS Plus or the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers and Retailers, the voice all retail professionals across the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

Virtuous Consumption: When malls and small businesses do good
Virtuous Consumption: When malls and small businesses do good
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